Oronde Booker and his 14-year-old son, Kendall are making history as the founders of Book Dawg Sports, the first Black-owned athletic supply company.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia, in the U.S, the company has been taking pre-orders for its flagship product called HW101, which is a basketball made with premium microfiber composite leather that offers amazing grip and durability to last all season and beyond.
Oronde had long been supporting his son at team practices and games when he began to notice that all of the equipment used by the players, trainers, and coaches was developed by four companies – none of which were Black-owned. This inspired him to create his own company that would be a major supplier of athletic products.
“When thinking about sports, it’s likely that several Black stars across all sports — basketball, football, tennis, or soccer — come to mind easily,” said Oronde. “Black people have contributed much to sports, attracting fans and diverse audiences, redefining the game and helping shape its culture, yet so few are found ‘behind the ball,’ particularly when looking at industries like sports equipment.”
Dominated by a select group of brands, the athletic equipment industry is big business, pulling in millions of dollars annually. According to Statista, in 2021 alone, U.S. wholesale sales of basketballs amounted to an estimated $286 million U.S. dollars.
For Booker, it’s about business, but it’s also about designing and delivering a high-quality product that will work for students of the game, at all levels.
“We believe in high standards and high quality—our ball is for people who are serious about improving their game,” added Booker. “I love the game and continue to play and coach, so I know firsthand that no matter how talented you are, it requires an investment in the best equipment, time and effort.”
BookDawg Sports’ HW101 is shorthand for “Hard Work 101” because it’s no secret that excellence on the court requires hard work. The name serves as a constant reminder of what it takes to succeed.
HW101 is made with premium microfiber composite leather, offering amazing grip and durability to last all season and beyond. It also boasts a cushioned core and deep channels that give players the ultimate precision and control when playing indoors.
“One of the things we’ve heard over and over again from our customers is about how it feels,” said Oronde. “A player knows when they’ve found the perfect ball based on how it feels in their hands, and we’re glad that we’re able to consistently provide that top quality experience.”
The HW101 retails for $79.99, in line with the standard pricing for similar basketballs of its caliber. Players, trainers, coaches and enthusiasts can get their hands on it just in time for basketball season or those Christmas gift lists.
By getting first in line to purchase HW101, shoppers will also have the opportunity to give back. BookDawg Sports plans to invest a percentage of each purchase into nonprofits and support young, Black players who could not otherwise afford to play basketball.
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